Suez Canal blockage puts at risk protective equipment deliveries to Europe

The Suez Canal, which cuts through Egypt to connect the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, has been blocked by a cargo ship that has run aground.

Images showed the ship perpendicular to the canal, clearly blocking other ships from passing. It is being helped out by an army of tugs and support from the banks including a digger, which appeared to be attempting to free the bow of the ship.

It was en route to the Netherlands from China before it hit trouble. The canal is a key waterway for the global freight business. It usually carries more than 50 ships per day.

Oliver Chapman, Group CEO of supply chain procurement company OCI, warned the crash and ensuing delay may have a big effect on transporting personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The incident was caused by unexpected high winds. Some question whether the ship will need to be unloaded before it can move off the canal banks.

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